What does No Foal No Fee mean?
No foal no fee – often called “no win no fee” – means that if you do not get a genuine offer or award, that you do not pay the Solicitor’s professional fee in a personal injuries case where this agreement has been reached. Most solicitors offering no win no fee fee arrangements in personal injuries cases and often have barristers who work on the same basis. Often engineers will also operate on the no win no fee basis. Doctors do not do so in general and need to be paid up front for their reports regardless and will also require payment for attendance at Court hearings.
Court fees are also payable regardless. Sometimes solicitors will cover the doctor and Court fees also as part of the no win no fee arrangement, though not always.
Why do I like it?
I like no win no fee personal injuries litigation because I end up not acting in cases where I do not think there is a significant prospect of success. This has the added benefit of cutting out cases I do not believe in and means I only act in cases that I think are genuine cases. Because in general I must win to be paid, I must be disciplined about what cases to take on.
How does it work?
For most solicitors, it meant that the case will settle on a “plus costs” basis. The solicitors and barristers’ fees will therefore be paid by the insurance company. If there isn’t an insurance company, or a sufficiently large Defendant to bring a likelihood of a guaranteed payment, then the “no foal no fee” concept will not apply and would not work.
Do Solicitors take part of the award?
We don’t. The solicitor’s fees are normally whatever is recovered from the insurance company. Sometimes, the entire doctor costs are not paid (e.g. if a report could not be used as it was unhelpful or was too expensive and only part paid by the insurance company) – insurance companies will often pay “reasonable” fees, so if a G.P. charges €500.00 for a report, and only €300.00 is allowed, the client is responsible for the shortfall.
What legal costs are paid to the Solicitor?
“Reasonably incurred expenses” is what is normally covered by an award of legal costs. Insurance companies have expert cost accountants and know exactly how much will be paid on taxation (these are the Court Officers tasked with deciding what legal costs are reasonable) and naturally try to continuously pay a little less than what would be awarded so that the costs are always moving downwards.
What are the possible negative implications of “no foal no fee” arrangements? Well, the obvious one is that Solicitors themselves are under financial pressure for cases to settle or win. This is particularly the case where solicitors take on risky cases. Solicitors adopting this fee arrangement therefore need to vet the clients properly. Pressure on a Solicitor could lead to pressure on the client and this should be avoided by all involved.
The costs of litigation in this country are so high that if a large number of Solicitors were not willing to provide personal injuries services on this basis, then a huge number of people would not be able to vindicate their rights where they have been the innocent injured party in an accident. It ensures that many more people obtain justice than would otherwise be the case. The massive upfront costs of litigation are avoided by clients which means most people with genuine cases can bring a personal injuries case.
Hogan Dowling McNamara Solicitors Limerick are happy to discuss the circumstances of your case with you and to advise you. We will tell you if we believe you can pursue a claim and clearly explain your options to you, enabling you to make an informed choice that best suits you and your needs. It is not permitted in Ireland to charge fees based on a percentage of any award. We do however offer a clear and transparent fee structure suitably tailored for all requirements.
Please contact us by phone at 061 501100, email Thomas Dowling, Personal Injuries Partner at [email protected] or get a call back by completing our contact form so we can provide you with further information or advice.